Similar to rubber tracks, the undercarriage of compact equipment constitutes a significant portion of its purchase price and operating cost. Proper operation, upkeep, and maintenance are crucial to enhance the overall performance as the mechanism provides power and stability to tracked machines. Learn about the various components of the undercarriage and the best practices for maintenance to enhance their service life and maximize your investment.
What Is the Undercarriage?
An undercarriage is the supporting mechanism or framework underneath compact equipment. Rubber tracks or wheels are attached to it to allow smooth movement of your machine. It consists of several parts, which are as follows:
- Links – Heavy-duty track links hold the sections of the rubber track together and ensure the equipment functions properly even in harsh conditions.
- Pins and Bushings – The hinges in the undercarriage allow the links to move around the idlers and sprockets. Maintaining them is essential to ensure the high performance of the rubber tracks.
- Sprockets – are made of high-quality materials, designed to handle everyday operations and provide extended service. It contains a set of rollers that help reduce friction between them and lugs.
- Rollers – are available in single, double and triple flanges for track loaders and help ensure a smooth track operation. They are sealed to prevent small debris and dirt from entering and damaging the internal parts. They are permanently lubricated and require low maintenance.
- Idlers – Available as front and rear choices, idlers can handle demanding applications. They tolerate debris and are well-lubricated to extend the track life. Front idlers help maintain track tension and absorb shock loads.
- Shoes – are abrasion-resistant and typically designed for earthmoving applications. They come in single, double, and triple grouser designs, a range of widths, and standard and extreme profiles to ensure optimum performance.
- Frames – The undercarriage has a sturdy track frame with fewer moving components. It is durable and easy to maintain.
- Rubber Track Chains – are available in different versions to match the machine’s specific requirements and environmental conditions. They are easy to install and can help you save money and time while enhancing the equipment’s performance.
8 Tips to Enhance Track Undercarriage Health & Longevity
Keep Your Machine Clean
Working in dirt, mud, and rocky terrain often leads to debris buildup in your equipment’s undercarriage. Regularly cleaning the parts can help minimize additional weight, increase uptime, reduce component wear, and enhance fuel economy. You can use shovels and pressure washers to scrub and wash your machine thoroughly.
Inspect Undercarriage Components Regularly
Conduct a complete undercarriage inspection to enhance the tracks’ longevity and achieve high performance. Look for uneven or excessive wear, cuts and cracks on the components, missing or damaged parts, and oil leakage so that you can take adequate measures to avoid expensive breakdowns. Inspect the drive motor, sprockets, links, rollers and idlers, guards, bolts in the tracks, chains, shoes, and track tension. Ensure they are in place to prevent a broken track pin or a loose trackpad.
Remember the Basics
Consider the following universal rules for undercarriage management to maintain your machine and its rubber tracks in excellent condition:
- Avoid pivoting the equipment or making sharp turns because it can accelerate wear and increase the chances of de-tracking.
- Operate carefully on harsh grounds because concrete, rough asphalt, and other abrasive materials may damage the rubber tracks.
- Reduce unnecessary track spinning as it can lead to wear and reduce your productivity.
- Choose a suitable track width by considering the machine’s application, weight, and environmental conditions. Use narrow ones for hard soil and wide shoes to work on soft surfaces.
- Use appropriate grousers by considering the application. A track with a higher number of grousers means more contact with the ground and less vibration.
Maintain the Recommended Track Tension
It helps to know that incorrect track tension may increase track wear. This is why running the rubber tracks slightly loose when working on sandy or muddy terrains is best.
Equip Your Machine with Suitable Rubber Tracks
Buy tracks that match your applications and specific needs. Wide treads are ideal for lower flotation and ground pressure. Narrow ones are perfect for more traction, increased ground pressure, and pushing force. Be sure to ask for expert help if you are unsure which tracks suit your compact equipment.
Adhere to Proper Driving Techniques & Procedures
Follow the manual’s operating and maintenance rules and tips to reduce excessive wear and degradation. Doing so will also help minimize your cost of ownership and extend the life of your rubber tracks.
Consider the Environment
By driving your machine appropriately for the ground conditions, you can increase your rubber tracks’ lifespan by up to 50%. Understand your working environment and operate your compact equipment accordingly to improve the performance and extend the life of your tracks. Here are a few essential things you need to keep in mind:
- You have some leeway when working in soft dirt because the terrain will not cause additional wear and tear on the rubber tracks.
- When operating on rough terrain with rocks, sharp objects, and gravel, turn slowly and carefully and avoid aggressive driving.
Adopt Preventative Maintenance Planning
You can prolong the undercarriage components by following a daily maintenance schedule. This includes checking track tension and alignment and clearing accumulated debris from the parts before using the machine.
Get High-Quality Rubber Tracks & Parts at Tag
Tag Equipment is Canada’s preferred supplier of rubber tracks and high-quality attachments for compact equipment. We also feature a vast inventory of parts, including sprockets, trackpads, and steel tracks. Our products are reliable, available at competitive prices, and compatible with major brands such as Gehl, Bobcat, Case, Takeuchi, and New Holland, among others. We offer a versatile lineup, including rubber tracks and undercarriage components for many applications to meet the varied needs of our customers.
For more details about our selection of compact equipment parts and rubber tracks in Canada, call us at 416-716-5850. You can contact us with your message by filling out our online contact form. Our experts will provide complete guidance and ensure you have the most suitable component for your skid steer and excavator.